Dungeon Crawl Classics #43 – The Curse From The Barrens (DCC43) from Goodman Games is a module for d20 that was written by Greg Oppedisano. The module states that it is for characters from levels 3 through 5. It takes the PC to the far north where they encounter a deadly curse and two warring native tribes. I converted the adventure to Fantasy Hero and ran it twice. Thus I cannot comment on how the adventure actually plays for d20.
I purchased the PDF version of the product from DriveThruRPG. It has a color front and back cover and an entirely black and white interior. The book is 8 1/2? x 11″ and is 36 pages in length. The page count includes three pages of maps and a page of player handouts. There is also the standard OGL page.
-== What I Like ==-
I really like the underlying theme of the PC getting caught between two warring tribes. This gives the PC a chance to first react to the tribes, then resolve their problem, then act as mediators for bringing them back together. The dynamic allows for a serious amount of role-playing. I was pleasantly surprised to find this in a “Dungeon Crawl Classic” module…I was not sure role-playing was in the billing when I made the purchase.
The flow of the module from scene to scene is very nicely done. There are not any hard breaks and the path to progress is very clear. My group likes to be directed by the plot but not railroaded. DCC43 did a good job of moving things along nicely.
This adventure is very easy to adapt to any campaign setting. As I was adopting DCC43 to Fantasy Hero and my own world so this is an important need for me. It was also very easy to extend the ending to introduce the following adventure.
The front cover artwork is very colorful and evocative. Jim Roslof did a nice job on it. The back cover is fun. The interior art is well placed and not too dark. The handouts are very cool.
The maps are nicely done. The interior maps which are the ones that folks are most likely to use are clear and easy to follow even though there are multitiered rooms in a couple of places. Often that can make maps more difficult to read but they did a good job here. It might have been nice to have arrows in the streams to slow the direction the water is flowing but that is a minor complaint.
-== What I Don’t Like ==-
DCC43 could have included more character hooks. There are only two included party hooks and they involve hiring the party and simply attacking them. Seems like they could have included a couple of others that are a bit more imaginative.
Some parts of glacial lair is a bit “forced”. In one area where there is a hallway that widens out to a falling ice block trap that feels completely out of place. It really seems like the designer needed a trap because, “a dungeon is not a dungeon without a trap”.
-== Summary ==-
Overall the adventure is exactly what I expected. That is NOT a bad thing. Right now you can get DCC43 on DriveThruRPG for a mere $4.89 at this URL. Holy glacial lair Batman why are you waiting!
I give it 8 out of 10 paws.